Can Undocumented Workers File Personal Injury Claims in Texas?
Rights of Undocumented Workers After a Personal Injury in Texas
As someone who goes to work on a daily basis, you routinely face a variety of risks for serious injuries. Whether you work in an office or at a construction site, whether you work in transportation or you drive from one job site to the next, being at work means you have a chance of being injured.
If you are an undocumented worker and you have been injured at work, under Texas law, you have the same right to compensation as anyone else working in your occupation or profession. While undocumented workers face many disadvantages, the law makes clear that all workers are entitled to seek financial compensation for their job-related injuries. For some workers, this means filing a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. For others, it means filing a claim for personal injury damages.
Undocumented Workers’ Right to Sue Confirmed in Grocers Supply, Inc. v. Cabello
While undocumented workers’ right to collect workers’ compensation benefits is written into the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act, the right to sue for personal injuries was only established relatively recently in the case of Grocers Supply, Inc. v. Cabello, 2012 Tex. App. LEXIS 10681 (Tex. App.—Dallas Dec. 21, 2012). In this case, the court held that undocumented immigrants have the same right to sue their employers for job-related injuries as U.S. citizens, visa holders, and lawful permanent residents. This is an important decision, because Texas does not require employers to participate in workers’ compensation. If your employer is a “non-subscriber,” your only option may be to file a personal injury claim to recover damages for your work injury.
Proving Employer Negligence in a Personal Injury Claim
In order to file a successful personal injury claim, you need to be able to prove that your employer caused or contributed to your injuries. In legal terms, this is referred to as “negligence.” While negligence can take many forms, employers will often vigorously dispute their employees’ claims, and in order to win your case you will need clear evidence of liability.
Some common examples of negligence claims in work-related personal injury cases include:
- Failure to follow safety regulations
- Failure to follow lockout/tagout procedures
- Failure to adequately maintain work vehicles
- Failure to repair damaged floor surfaces or clean up spills
- Hiring inexperienced or untrained employees
- Providing workers with faulty or dangerous equipment (such as tools, ladders, and scaffolding)
Insurance Settlements for Undocumented Workers’ Personal Injury Claims
Most personal injury claims settle out of court. Most employers do not like to spend money on legal fees, and they do not want their employees’ work accidents (and especially their undocumented employees’ work accidents) being made public. However, some cases still go to trial. At Law Offices of Ronald A. Ramos, we have decades of experience representing undocumented workers in work injury claims. We can fight for a quick and fair settlement; and, if necessary, we can go to court to enforce your rights under Texas law.
Contact Us for a Free and Confidential Consultation
If you are an undocumented worker and you have been injured in a job-related accident in South Texas, you can contact Law Offices of Ronald A. Ramos for a free and confidential consultation. To speak with a personal injury attorney at our offices in San Antonio, please call (210) 308-8811 or inquire online today.